How long to hang/age venison?

Discussion in 'Game Preparation' started by BowDad, Oct 6, 2000.


  1. Let’s assume that the hot weather is gone and the mean temp is between 30 and 50 deg. How long do you age your deer before taking it to the processor? I’ve heard varying opinions on this subject, some say as long as two weeks and some say to get it in within a day or two. I usually get a little nervous after three or four days and end up taking it in to the butcher. Am I right to do so, or will letting it age a little longer give me better tasting/more tender meat?

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    "We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive." Aldo Leopold 1887-1948
     

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  2. Bowdad,

    The ideal is 10 days at 38 degrees. So, given the conditions that you describe, I would go a minimum of 4 days, preferrable 8 days.

    HOWEVER!!!! There are a couple variables here that need to be checked out before you make a decision:

    1. How long will it be between the time that you drop off the deer and when the butcher actually gets to cuting it for you? (I visited one shop where, at the end of their work day, there were still 15 to 20 deer laying on a loading dock waiting to be skinned and butchered - not my idea of prime conditions.)

    2. At what temperature will it be during that time?

    Given that the answer to these two are respectively, immediately, and not more than 45 degrees, I would go with the longer aging before taking it in. If the answers are anything else, I would either find another meat processor or adjust my aging time accoring to the conditions at the processing plant.

    Hope this helps.

    ss
     

  3. Thanks ss, your point about the processor and his workload is well taken. I'll ask next time. Given the correct temps. I'll be a little more patient this time. Thanks again!!!

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    "We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive." Aldo Leopold 1887-1948
     
  4. first let me say taste is an individual thing what is strong to me is delicious to the next guy the thing i try to remember about aging any wild game is it is another term for rotting.you are allowing the bacteria from inside and out to start to break down the individual cells in the meat.the outside can be determined by a whole lists of things i.e did the animal get wet from going down in a swamp,did the hunter wash the carcass with water to remove entrails and or hair.what was the source of this water and its mineral containments. the inside from digestive to glandular aging we can do little about.care of the carcasss and the area it is hung in will also determine taste a garage may be a good place tempature wise but if your wife or you warm your truck up in the morning meat can be affected.if tenderization is the main purpose for aging then we must remember that the freezing process does some of that work for us by expanding and breaking down the individual cells in the meat i use to make a habit of and i wince at saying this because everyone has different tastes and when i contridict your granddad i know im wrong automaticlly but 5 days for deer or antelope.but in the last 5 years due to inclimate weather i have butchered deer within hours of the kill and have not been able to tell any difference.in fact i no longer hang any antelope deer or bear at all for the reason of tenderization or taste but only the convenience of time to butcher and pack in the freezer.now elk buffalo and moose i would go up to 14 days as long as the conditions the meat were stored in remained constant.my rule of thumb for all game is better a little tougher then spoiled
     
  5. bonasabuster,

    Thats a good rule of thumb. Spoiled meat is a waste of the food and the life taken to provide the food.

    ss
     
  6. Making current

    Salmonsmoker
     
  7. As Far As Hang Time Goes I'll Let The Deer Hang Anywhere From 1 Day To As Many As 7 Days As Long As The Temperature Of The Meat After Cooling Stays At 39 Degrees Down To 34. The Reason Being At 40 Degrees And Higher You'll Get Some Serious Bacteria Working On The Meat And The Quicker The Meat Starts To Turn As The Saying Goes. And As It Turns The Chances Of Rotten Unedible Meat Becomes Greater, Purple/blue Color In The Meat And Then The Smell I've Seen This Happen To Deer Hung Outdoors In The Rain And Then Sun And Heat What A Waste Of An Animal!
     
  8. I'm not as conservative as you all, I learned aging from the guy who ran the Golden Mushroom in Detroit. He was European and actually published videos on the topic, maybe some of you have seen or own copies.
    In my experience temp. and air circulation are key. In this respect I have let deer hang 3~4 weeks, with wonderful results. However, duly noted on the comment above that if you dont have weather, you need to process within hours of the kill. Worst thing is allowing wide swings in conditions, rain, then heat, then cold to contact the carcass, there's no control over this and the outcome is never good.
    Small game (rabbits, ducks, etc) I have had excellent results hanging for 2~3 weeks with the entales in tact. Key is looking for ruptured intestine prior to aging, then you must process quickly, otherwise let the enzymes do their work.
    As stated, everyone has their own threshold, taste, and facilities for this it just depends on the individual, condition/treatment of the game from the field, and temp. + air circulation.
     
  9. We always cut the deer up as soon as we get it out of the field. Dont have to worry about it spoiling at all. Tastes really great too.
     
  10. snaggs

    snaggs Banned

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    ................As of this reply...it is too late to salvage any meat from deer taken and hung to cure in the 2005/2006 season....except for feed for turkey buzzards which have now appeared in Michigan for the 2006 year...:corkysm55
     
  11. Mickey Finn

    Mickey Finn One of the good guys

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    I have been told time and again, not to hang your deer, take it to the Butcher. Or better still, butcher it yourself. Venison and some similiar meats will age in the freezer. It has something to do with the texture of the meat. Venison, antelope, and some others have a fine texture. As opposed to the course texture of say beef. So, the slow decompasition that takes place with hanging, is not benefical. The deciding factor is how it's butchered. And of course that it is not allowed to spoil.
     
  12. STAY AWAY FROM THE BUTCHERS,if it's posssible,you should learn to butcher your own deer,it's not hard at all,with a butcher who knows who's meat your getting back,you'll get x amount of lbs back but do you know for sure that its even your deer?most WILL "butcher" it up and sure it's fast cause the cut it up,bone and all,soon as they cut the meat and cut thru the bone and all the bone marrow is in the meat,and then it's screwed,not counting all the sineu(sp)and fat that does'nt get trimmed before cutting,i'm not cappin on all the meat processor people,there are many good ones out there,but when deer season hits,it's all about production,not quality,there's also a better sense of satisfaction when you do it yourself,it seperates the armchair hunters from the real ones!
     
  13. If everyone is so opposed to aging venison then why is it the recommended way to go with all of the high end restraunts that serve it??

    I have not had a deer go bad while aging it for 4 to 6 days.

    But, as "sullyxlh" recommends, stay away from butchers unless you know positively that he or she will not rush the deer through the processing. Butchering is fairly easy.
     
  14. Most importantly.......process your own deer. As for aging, I like a minimum of 5 days, but depends on weather.

    Speaking of aging.......this thread has aged for just short of 6 years and should be real tender.:)
     

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